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Wonderful weather. Cooling off to comfortable temperatures.
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Falling Back on Better Weather
In reference to our article in the Nov/Dec issue of Passagemaker Magazine, we wanted to correct the article credits. It was written by both Hannah and Tim. Click Here to read the unedited original piece (aka Directors Cut).
Click the Cap'n to Shop Slowly
Are you a slow cruiser? A smooth mover? A lover of deliberate living? Well have we got the store for you! Come on down to Shop Slowly and try on some of the hot and spunky new fashions. We've got great garb. click here
Coming to Charleston? We want to share with you some of our favorite spots to eat. These are places we frequent on a regular basis, none require slacks and polo shirts. On John's Island is JB's Smoke Shack which has a deeply smokey bar-b-que that is among the best. Sunday brunch at Hominy Grill is a hip spot to have a traditional southern breakfast. If you want to watch a Red Sox game, head to Charleston Beer Works on upper King St for the game on NESN and $2 pints of Sammy Adams. A perfect weekend afternoon is swimming on Sullivan's Island and then beer and a Cole Slaw Chili Cheese Dog from Dunleavy's Pub. Downtown, don't miss the gyro or chicken pesto pizza from Papa ZuZu's. Finally, as in many southern cities, you can go to Mellow Mushroom also on King St. for some really good pizza with amazing crust (and they deliver to the marina!). Also, their website was created by the same guys who made our favorite website: homestarrunner.com.
Hurricane Season Finally Passes
It is mid-October and we are happy to have some cooler days and a handful of crisp nights. It makes forgetting about hurricane season easier. Not that we have been dwelling on the long season that had us worrying both on and off the boat. But that is probably because we didn't get any big ones. Charleston has been lucky in recent years. Most folks down here seem to move on after September and regain that non-nonchalant attitude about living so near Florida. We don't really have that carefree feeling, and didn't even before we experienced our first visit to the National Hurricane Center. We've never lived anywhere before where there are natural disasters that occur besides buckets of snow. Weather we can expect is one thing, but going through months of not knowing can be trying on the nerves. Images are quick to develop: of Slowly banging up against the old concrete dock, or the marina rising above the pilings and drifting off into the harbor, or Slowly getting picked up and dropped onto Lockwood Drive. Marinas are what they show on the news during hurricanes. Why? Because that is the source of the most drama. A beach full of boats on their side like Dominoes with huge crashing waves against broken docks. Those are the pictures that draw the biggest gasps. Perhaps the way to deal with it is to separate yourself from reality a bit (or get a little closer depending on your view). To let it come, and be prepared as best you can.
We did have some strong gusts here, and saw flooded streets downtown. However, for the worst that Charleston got we were away. By accident. And it made us worry perhaps more than if we had been there to witness. Being on vacation in a cabin in Idaho or a treehouse on the Edisto River, without any internet and hardly any cell phone service, is relaxing and rejuvenating if you're not trying to figure out what is going on with your boat, your home. We learned a lot about living in an area at risk of hurricanes. And though we may have grown to stress less through the season, we are not so keen on living in a place where we may have to deal with the unnerving feeling again. We are thankful we did not get hit harder this year and send our thoughts to all those in Florida who have lost.
One thing that made dealing with hurricane season easier was our new slip. We moved from our old slip in the far northwest regions of the City Marina, to our new spot close and cozy on the inside of some big concrete piers. It now takes a minute, instead of seven, to get from the parking lot to Slowly. And that makes a huge difference when you forget something at home that you need on the way to work everyday. Also, we don't rock anymore. (Well, we still rock, but we don't toss from side to side.) It is truly rad to not have to cringe when a boat passes by throwing a wake, or deal with tides and unexplained swells in the dark of the night. We had grown attached to our old slip, as we are the type to grow attached to a slip. But anywhere that Slowly sits, is home.
That's part of why it is so important to find a good home for Slowly. Somewhere she'll be protected, looked after and not in danger of too much weather. We have decided to take Slowly back up to Oriental, NC in early December where she will dwell next year while we venture to Montana. It was a decision we knew we had to make, and we took awhile sampling the options in our minds. We thought how nice it would be to pay less for the slip (City Marina is rather pricey) so that we would be able to shell out more for her upkeep and revamping. There were ideas of asking someone if they wanted to live aboard her here in Charleston, or to keep her here even if we did pay because we've met many kind people who would keep an eye on her, or to move her somewhere cheaper but close by for the easy access to an airport and friends. Unfortunately she's too precious, and too much of a burden to really trust or want someone else to live on her. The sounds and subtleties that give her such personality would call for a daily Q&A. Hurricane season provoked us into wanting to run further north, and somewhere a bit more protected. Luckily we heard wind of a friend of a friend who had bought a small marina in Oriental. It was the perfect opportunity to pay less, have a trustworthy person watching over her, and be a little farther inland in case of a hurricane hit. We are also really looking forward to cruising again. In early December we will be on the water for a week or so moving north. As the Slow Times reminds us, that leg of our trip last year was amazing. Wonderful anchorages, cute towns, and the laid back attitude of the ICW off season. We plan on documenting the upcoming trip here at Slow Times.
For a short while Slowly will become our "second home," our "home on the ocean." This will be quite a new feeling for us, and not in-line with our reasons for owning her. But selling her just didn't feel right. Maybe some time in the future that will happen, but we have some more adventures to share with her, and some more work to do to get her looking extra sharp. We will be returning to her after about a year in Bozeman, Montana. It will be a flabbergasting change of surrounds. Especially to arrive in January. Wish us luck.
Perhaps this change reveals that we are adventurers before we are boaters. But Montana is an exciting and beautiful place, and it carries the promise of excellent employment. Tim will be writing software, and Hannah will continue to develop her career in botany. We are already excited to return to Slowly, and to keep her as part of our life. She continues to be a great home, a source of creativity and a life research vessel to us, and that feeling of "This is so cool!" will always remain intact.
With the completion of a hurricane season, we are taking advantage of the excellent fall weather, and some breathing room between jobs to dedicate full days to Slowly. This is really the only way to give her the attention she needs. One of the first places we worked on Slowly was her flybridge. Grand Banks does a lot of things right, but one thing they messed up (at least in '73) was water drainage on the flybridge. To repair this, we have taken to liberal use of a drill with a half-inch bit. These new scuppers are insurance that the rot repairs we do will last. Regrettably, as novice boat renovators, we were too ginger about such brash acts as drilling finger sized holes, but now we know better, and we are comfortable with responsible "water drainage management."
The rot repair process itself begins with a lot of digging. Luckily, the rot has remained isolated to the corners and cracks that collect water. We use wood repair products from a California company, Smith & Co. In particular, they make a clear penetrating epoxy (looks like apple juice!) and a two part 1:1 mix epoxy fill-et that is wonderfully effective and workable. The flybridge has been pretty well worked over now, and it is almost ready for paint! Tim learned how to handle a caulk gun from our expert builder friend Paul. Caulking has been another new tool in the fly bridge renovation. It is clear where a little bead of caulk would have saved a lot of rot trouble. We learn a lot from mistakes around here!
One of the most exciting events of recent weeks was the result of a google search for "surplus Sunbrella" when Tim scored 50 yards of green and white striped Sunbrella fabric for $4 / yard! This bolt of fabric is the dawn of a new era of Slowly renovation. One day we'll have new cushions, a new bimini, and new all sorts of striped stuff.
Once the last coat of paint has dried on the flybridge, the decks will finally get their turn. A recent delivery from Jamestown Distributors contained 1000 3/8" teak bungs which we will use to re bung the decks in addition to recaulking them. This is another job that will appreciate full time attention. Luckily, all we want is to keep dry inside. They don't have to look perfect, just not ugly. For Slowly, beautiful is sitting cozy and dry inside during a downpour. We may never get there, but we will always keep trying.
Coming up on the three years of owning Slowly, boat work often takes on the pleasant character of an old friend. One of the most difficult aspects of boat work is not knowing stuff - the first time using a new goo, an unfamiliar tool, looking at a part of this boat that you never realized was even there! At first, totally novice, buying into this life aboard an old wooden boat, those experiences are simply constant. Now we are past the first time mixing a two part epoxy, and there isn't quite as much dripped on our shoes, and the sander just puts you in a trance. It is a lot easier now. And it's not that it takes any less time, energy, or sweat in the fight against rot. The difference is that now that annoying first step into uncharted territory has already been taken. There are no manuals to consult, no directions to decipher, and no anxiety over how quick this goo might turn to stone. We are now starting to get into the swing of things.